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School bus loading children

Stop for a Stopped School Bus

All states have laws requiring a driver to stop for a stopped school bus with flashing red lights. Unfortunately, the laws differ slightly from state to state.

The typical state law requires you to stop when meeting or overtaking a school bus from either direction. You must stop before reaching the bus and you must remain stopped until such school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights are no longer activated. Remember, red lights are turned on whenever a school bus is stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children. Even if you cannot see any children, you must remain stopped.

When are you Allowed to Pass?

You may be allowed to proceed with care when meeting a school bus which is on a different roadway. The definition of a different roadway varies. You may also be allowed to proceed on highways with limited access when the bus has stopped in a loading zone where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

Study the Rules in Your State

Make sure you know the laws in your state and any state you plan to visit. Penalties for passing a stopped school bus are often severe. Watch for the flashing lights and stop arms on school buses. Always obey crossing guard instructions, as well as speed restrictions. Focus on traffic and be aware of your surroundings. Do not use your cell phone in a school zone. It may distract you and may be against the law.

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